I understand the current concerns about the reduced availability of sea freight and assure the community that myself, Council and the Sea Freight Working Group are exploring a range of potential options.
The Sea Freight Working Group includes Councillors, Norfolk Island Regional Council staff as well as representatives from the shipping industry, importers and business. It was established following the withdrawal of the Capitaine Wallis from the shipping schedule, in recognition of the increasing challenges sourcing appropriate vessels for Norfolk Island shipping arrangements.
I note the 2020 schedule for the Southern Tiare was released on 16 January. The working group will be continuing its considerations in the meantime
To assist the working group, in December 2019, industry experts Consult Marine undertook some work to look at short term contingencies the group may wish to look at further with the shipping industry.
It is important to remember that sea freight is a private sector function. The working group will ensure industry has the information and modelling it needs to consider alternative options.
The Australian Government has provided funding to support air freight to Norfolk Island. If required, additional flights may be considered in 2020.
The Australian Government started developing a Ports Management Strategy in 2019. The strategy, which is expected to be finalised by June 2020, will define the long term approach to sustainable management and operation of the ports – including infrastructure options.
My office will keep the community informed. In the interim, we ask for your patience and should you require any urgent assistance, please contact the Office of the Administrator by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Administrator of Norfolk Island
16 January 2020